The Bernie Goetz Subway Shooting

How Echoes Of The Bernie Goetz Subway Shooting Still Resonate Today


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It was a case that wouldn’t seem out of place today. On Dec. 22, 1984, four black teens approached a white man on a New York City subway train and either asked for or demanded money. The man, who’d been mugged before and would later tell authorities he felt threatened, almost immediately pulled a handgun out of his jacket and began firing, striking and wounding all four teens. The criminal case that followed, and the national debate it stirred, raised questions about self-defense, vigilantism, and race that have been eerily echoed numerous times in the decades since.